Human rights and ICTs

Notes on the 44th session of the Human Rights Council
Notes on the 44th session of the Human Rights Council 22 July 2020 APC

HRC44 wrapped up on 14 July. The internet and new technologies were in focus to a significant degree, with a number of resolutions, panels and reports touching on the online dimension of human rights. Here are some highlights of outcomes relating to human rights online at this past session.

FMA: #HijaAko and what the current data map on online gender-based violence in the Philippines is telling us
FMA: #HijaAko and what the current data map on online gender-based violence in the Philippines is telling us 21 July 2020 Foundation for Media Alternatives

Because of the pandemic, more people are staying home and enjoying the benefits of technology. Women, however, can have a different online experience as gender-based violence manifests in various ways in virtual spaces.

DEF: Low-cost connectivity solutions fostering openness in times of COVID-19
DEF: Low-cost connectivity solutions fostering openness in times of COVID-19 21 July 2020 DEF

Because of the pandemic, India has been under lockdown since March. What does this mean for rural communities, only 20% of whom have access to the internet? Community networks established by organisations like Digital Empowerment Foundation are bringing critical services to 100 villages of India.

#HoldTheLine Coalition calls for criminal tax charge to be dropped as Maria Ressa returns to court
#HoldTheLine Coalition calls for criminal tax charge to be dropped as Maria Ressa returns to court 21 July 2020 Various

The #HoldTheLine Coalition demands the Philippines authorities drop a barrage of bogus tax and foreign ownership cases against internationally celebrated journalist Maria Ressa and Rappler – the news organisation she founded.

Good news, bad news: A story of internet shutdowns in Togo and Ethiopia
Good news, bad news: A story of internet shutdowns in Togo and Ethiopia 20 July 2020 Juliet Nanfuka for CIPESA

Last month the Economic Community of West African States Community Court of Justice ruled that the 2017 internet shutdown in Togo was illegal. But barely a week later, Ethiopia initiated a nationwide shutdown, serving as a reminder of the persistent threat of internet shutdowns on the continent.

HRC44: Joint NGO full written end-of-session statement
HRC44: Joint NGO full written end-of-session statement 17 July 2020 Various

APC and other civil society organisations issued this joint statement at the conclusion of the 44th regular session of the Human Rights Council to welcome the advances made, express concern over continued rights violations, and put forward recommendations for future efforts by the Council.

Polish protests against abortion ban during COVID-19
Polish protests against abortion ban during COVID-19 16 July 2020 Juliette Bretan for GenderIT.org

As a new bill which could restrict abortion even further was debated, Polish women found new ways to continue their protests for abortion rights, even in the face of lockdown measures caused by COVID-19.

EngageMedia's Pretty Good Podcast: AI and its role in COVID-19 responses
EngageMedia's Pretty Good Podcast: AI and its role in COVID-19 responses 15 July 2020 Sara Pacia

On the third episode of Pretty Good Podcast, ARTICLE 19 digital programme officer Vidushi Marda dissects the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the region’s response to COVID-19 and what the new applications of this technology mean for digital rights after the pandemic.

Joint civil society statement: Structural intervention is required to mitigate the racially discriminatory impacts of emerging digital technologies including AI
Joint civil society statement: Structural intervention is required to mitigate the racially discriminatory impacts of emerging digital technologies including AI 15 July 2020 Various

As widespread recent protests have highlighted, racial inequality remains an urgent and devastating issue around the world, and this is as true in the context of technology as it is everywhere else.

Joint statement for HRC44 virtual meeting of the Human Rights Council president with NGOs
Joint statement for HRC44 virtual meeting of the Human Rights Council president with NGOs 14 July 2020 Various

This joint statement by 20 non-governmental organisations, including APC, outlines the barriers to participation experienced by civil society during the 44th session of the Human Rights Council, and calls for measures to remedy these obstacles.

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